UT students launch platform to sell digital audio scraps

Logan Dubel, Senior Life&Arts Reporter

When Henry Quillin listens to Diplo’s music, he said he enjoys the harmonious loops and beats layered throughout the DJ’s electronically produced songs.

However, his business partner Alejo Orvañanos said when crafting his own EDM songs as a DJ and producer, he layers dozens of separate beats and sounds together to produce one cohesive track. Once blended together, its individual layers become digital waste, leaving producers unable to profit from the entirety of their creative process. 

“I was throwing away digital audio workstation files and unreleased music,” said Orvañanos, an accounting senior. “I realized I needed a marketplace to monetize this music because it is useful, and I want artists to integrate this into their brand and projects.” 

Now, as Orvañanos and fellow student collaborators launch Scraps Audio, these musical “scraps” will have a place to reside. The co-founders said the platform allows users to purchase audio files as simple as three-measure beats. Co-founded by Orvañanos and UT student Quillin, along with two students at other universities, Scraps officially launches Feb. 22. 

Quillin, a business honors and computer science freshman, said files can be purchased for personal use, ranging from $20 to $200, but publishing rights, which allow an artist to incorporate the file into released songs, can go for thousands. Scraps Audio promotes ghost production, Quillin said, allowing anonymous artists to monetize their work and prioritize artistry over identity. 

“(Selling files) stems from the fact that there’s big artists like Diplo that have popular songs, and there’s so much demand to know how they’re made,” Quillin said. “The artists who make the files are not seeing a penny. We want to bring power back to the creator.” 

In addition to offering files for producers to build upon, the site serves as an educational tool, allowing aspiring artists and even underground music fans to explore how others created tracks at the most basic level.  

Scraps Audio sports a growing team, including Cole Jackson, a Plan II and finance junior, assisting with artist outreach. A DJ and artist himself, Jackson said he connects with the platform’s mission. 

“On my SoundCloud, I have 576 tracks uploaded but only 11 released, so that just goes to show how much waste there is,” Jackson said. “In an ideal world, you have a platform that’s not too many mega artists, but rather a community.” 

Quillin said being part of a startup while in college requires sacrifices, but he could not imagine spending his time doing anything else. 

“I’ve made an agreement with myself that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get a perfect score on an assignment, because I want to build this project. Day to day, if I’m not at the gym or doing homework, I’m working on Scraps,” Quillin said. “Knowing I could build something that could solve a problem rather than sit at a desk at a huge tech company is my dream.” 

Ambitious and driven, Orvañanos said he aims to attract thousands of artists in the next two years and make Scraps the top audio file marketplace. He said EDM continues to excite him, both behind the DJ mixer and at the business meeting table. 

“There are so many subgenres and styles. … It’s like Christmas every day. Getting to work on a company that aligns with your hobbies and passions is exciting,” Orvañanos said. “The college experience has died down for me, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make because I’m enjoying the work I’m doing.”